Illinois Alternative


Thinking of joining the military to find a job or training?

Think again!

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This guide is intended to provide alternatives to military service for youth in Illinois who may be considering a career in the United States Armed Forces.  There are more than a hundred links below that will hook you up with thousands of job, training, and educational opportunities near your home, across the country or around the world.  The U.S. government and the state of Illinois have programs that can assist you in figuring out what to do with your life.  There are many free job-search sites and opportunities with non-profit and faith-based organizations.  Spend a few hours clicking around and use the free search engines.  In the process, you're likely to find something that is truly exciting.  You don't have to join the military.

The United States Army produces five professional, glossy brochures promising new recruits "Money, Education, Training, Service, and Adventure."  That's how they're selling it to you.  They're hoping to convince you that your options are limited.   None of the Army's fancy brochures mentions that the U.S. frequently wages war, and they never say you stand a good chance of getting hurt or even killed.  Their brochures leave out the long tedious hours, the low pay, the mandatory eight-year enlistment contact and the fact that you can't quit if you don't like it.

The brochures also say if you join the Army you'll and earn up to $70,000 for college.  They seem to say that if you join the military, college is all but paid for.  But less than half of recruits ever receive any education benefits from the military. Most that do get money don't see anything close to $70,000.  Enlisting in the armed forces is likely to set your educational goals back.   If you put in the necessary time, energy, and dedication, you can find a way to pay for college.

The basic pay rate for a new enlistee in the Army is less than $300 per week. You'll pay Federal Income Tax, Social Security, Medicare, and State Taxes on your basic pay.  The military will foot the bill for you room, board and health care.  In return, they'll own you.

So here's the challenge.  See if you can find something to do with your life that pays better than the military.  See if you can find training or education on your own.  There are plenty of programs out there that are designed to help you.  Do you think you could find an adventurous job without joining the military if your life depended on it?  You could work in one of our beautiful National Parks or fish for King Crab in the Bering Sea.  How about service?  Maybe you'd like to volunteer to feed the hungry in Africa or build homes for the poor right here at home?  Perhaps a job at a resort on a tropical island or working on a cruise ship would be more to your liking than joining the military.  You'd make more money than the military, you could quit if you didn't like it, and you wouldn't have to kill anyone.

The first section below is a list of governmental sites in Illinois that offer jobs or job training to someone like you.  Some of these positions require a college degree and/or experience, but many do not.  Don't get discouraged.  People often make the mistake of performing a very narrow search that fails to provide results.  If you have a high school diploma, you can type "high school" when you're prompted for keywords and you'll find jobs that require a high school diploma.

The next section describes several resources provided by the U.S. government for jobs in Illinois.  You'll also see sections dedicated to commercial sites, educational sites, financing college, and apprenticeships. Most of these links are for opportunities in Illinois.  The last two sections list employment opportunities with religious & non-profit organizations and a huge variety of positions around the country.  

DISCLAIMER:  We've done our best to eliminate websites that promote the military.  However, some of the commercial job search sites that appear below may occasionally provide links to the armed forces.  Also, be careful about not getting scammed by for-profit entities that offer scholarships and other services.

The state of Illinois wants to help you find a job!


Illinois Employment and Training Network


Illinois Employment & Trainin Centers


Illinois Unemployment Insurance

Illinois Job Corps Centers


Jobs with the city of Chicago:


Jobs with the city of Springfield:


U. S. Government Resources:


America's Job Bank. Thousands of new jobs are posted daily.


USA Jobs is the official website for jobs in the US Federal Government


U.S. Federal Government Jobs by location (Breakthrough Publications Inc. posts jobs from 300 federal agencies – data from the Office of Personnel Management


U.S. Postal Service - Search this site to find a job -


U.S. Department of the Interior - The Interior Department has thousands of positions nationwide:


Jobs, Education & Volunteerism - Official U.S. Government site:


Career Net - The U.S. government wants to help you find the right career.


AmeriCorps is a network of service programs that connects more than 70,000 young people each year in intensive service to meet our country’s needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.

The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18–24.


Transportation Security Administration: Jobs as airport screeners with the Transportation Security Administration:


U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration – Youth in the 21st Century


USDA Food & Nutrition Service Food Stamp Program


Illinois Commercial Sites:

Illinois Newspapers:


Illinois Educational Sites:


Illinois GED Program:


Illinois Two-Year Colleges:

Illinois Trade Schools & Colleges


BrainBuzz: Free computer training and study guides:

College Search for a technical college near you.


A list of every college and university in the country, from A to Z:;_ylt=Ap4QrSDtbtLdEo6f3LDrsfDWw3UD


Financing College:


To apply for student financial aid from the federal government, including the Pell Grant, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan and work-study, you will need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no charge for submitting this form. The FAFSA is also required by all state-sponsored student assistance programs. Start here to finance college:


The state of Illinois can help you pay for college:


Need help paying for college but don't want to join the military? This site lists several online financial aid finders to help students in seeking out alternative sources of funding rather than joining the military. Most of these sites are free.


Illinois Apprenticeship Programs:


David Wyatt, State Director USDOL/ETA/OA

Room 656 230 South Dearborn Street Chicago, Illinois 60604 312/596-5508

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


American Society of Newspaper Editors: Has hundreds of internships at newspapers across the country.


College This is an excellent resource for learning the internship process. has internships in the non-profit sector.


Internship This is a commercial listing of thousands of internship positions. Enter "Internships" where it says "Keyword."


Non-profit and political internships listed with get a


Rising star Internships: An A to Z guide for internships across the country.


Student internship programs with the federal government:


University of Texas Career Center lists several dozen excellent internship opportunities:


National Religious & Non-Profit Organizations


The following sites are to organizations that provide services to people. Some offer paid positions and some offer volunteer opportunities.


American Friends Service Opportunities - In the US and abroad


Brethren Volunteer Service - Volunteers bring hope to shattered lives, offer food and shelter to those in need, and build understanding between individuals, groups, nations, humanity, and the world we share.


Earthcorps restores parks and open spaces while providing leadership and community service experience.


Fellowship of Reconciliation: FOR is the oldest and largest interfaith peace and justice organization in the United States. They have internships and volunteer opportunities available across the country.


Goodwill Industries International: Local Goodwills offer a variety of programs to train job seekers in the skills they need for today’s job markets, and to help them advance their careers.


Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps AmeriCorps members serve an 11-month term constructing houses with a local Habitat affiliate. While in service, AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance and insurance.


International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators: This site includes entry-level positions for security officers on college campuses.


Idealist Social Action Website -
List many job and volunteer opportunities that include training, education and travel


Inroads Home - Leadership training and internships for talented minority youth


Lutheran Volunteer Corps has volunteer opportunities across the country.


Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund - MALDEF's Employment and Equal Opportunity Program represents those who have been denied the right to work and to be fairly compensated.


Methodist - Global Justice Volunteers - A short-term volunteer program for young adults ages 18-25. The program is designed to enable young adults who are 18-25 years old to have short-term experiences living and learning along side people whose lives are shaped by justice work.


National Council of La Raza - La Raza promotes economic mobility for Latino youth by increasing educational attainment, career planning, and access to well-paying careers.


Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Mission opportunities for youth. - Search here for available positions in the U.S. or abroad.


Presbyterian Student Service - Young Adult travel - internships, Mission service, Travel Summer or year long


Public Allies - Work four days each week for ten months at a local nonprofit organization where you strengthen your community by working in areas such as youth development, community development, public health, and economic development.


Social - Most, but not all jobs require college. Good source for jobs at residential treatment facilities:


Student Conservation Association - Helps thousands of people 18 and over find 3-to-12 month, expense-paid internship opportunities in all 50 states.


YMCA - Many YMCA employees start their careers as member-service coordinators, swim instructors, lifeguards, health and fitness trainers, childcare and camp counselors, community outreach directors, and sports directors.

Youth Volunteer Corps of America works to increase volunteer opportunities to enrich America’s youth and address community needs.


Commercial Job Search Sites:

This section provides a list of sites from companies throughout the U.S. that get paid to link employers with job searchers like you.

Check out the classified ads in your local newspaper on line! Just click on this link and then click on your state. Then select the newspapers closest to you. Look for “employment” or“classifieds.” You can also use the site’s search engine. is a huge collection of resources that includes links to thousands of jobs at community colleges and universities. Positions in security, maintenance and food service are included. Find a school near you.


All Retail - More than 40,000 jobs in America’s largest retail stores.


AOL Find a Job – Just fill in your state and select “all categories”


Art - Whether you're looking for a new job, or just want to understand what's happening in the arts field, ArtJob is the place to find comprehensive, up-to-date national listings of jobs, internships, fellowships and other employment opportunities in the arts. - Search engine for jobs nationally: Free career test and evaluation:


Career is a massive, national database of every imaginable kind of job:


Career - Good site for finding training centers for various careers.


Campus Career - Jobs on college campuses across the country


Carnival Fun Ships - Imagine working on a cruise ship. Hundreds of jobs available.


Career - This is a great site that has lots of entry level jobs that simply require a high school diploma. - Jobs at girls' camps, boys' camps, co-ed camps, camps for the disabled, camps on mountain lakes, camps on the ocean, camps in the heartland. Some are year-round.


Craigslist - Thousands of jobs across the country. Just click on your state and you’ll find entry-level jobs that require a HS diploma:


Environmental Career - Jobs range from truck drivers to senior scientists


Employment -Click on “employees” then click on your state.


Employment - A Google search site. - A good source for locating employment in particular cities.


Get That Gig - Extraordinary & unusual careers, internships, and part-time jobs.


Government 5,000 state government jobs nationally:


H - Thousands of jobs in the Hotel industry

Hotel Job Resource - There are jobs available on beautiful resort islands.


Hilton Hotels - Hilton is everywhere, probably not far from you.


Home Depot - Search engine for jobs nationwide


Hot Jobs - Is a Yahoo company. It is one of the largest nationwide.

Job - Provides job searches in all 50 states.

Job Listings on the net - This resource lists professional personnel agencies in every state.

Lat Pro. Com - The largest bilingual jobs and diversity career board in the Americas!


Local - -


Massey Energy is looking for coal miners and other laborers


MGM Mirage – The resorts of MGM MIRAGE are some of the most famous in the world, and all of them are hiring. - Huge, national database of thousands of jobs


Nation - Simply type in your state and leave the rest blank.

Norwegian Cruise Line jobs – Travel the world and save your money.


Personnel Services - This site includes a search engine by state that lists commercial personnel agencies. Search for your state and closest city.


Sarah Lee - Warehouse workers, drivers. etc. needed nationally.


Snag a - Part time and hourly jobs nationwide – just enter your zip code


Starwood - Thousands of jobs at hundreds of hotels and vacation spots:


Teens for Hire - Membership is free of charge and allows you to search jobs, apply online, be considered for openings, and get the latest news, info and tips on how to land a job, earn money, and/or get work experience.


True - hourly and professional jobs.


USA Today Job Center -


Verizon Super Pages - Check the yellow pages for a job.

Work - Huge online database for jobs in every profession


WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms - WWOOF provides listing and contact information for organic farms offering volunteer opportunities and apprenticeships.


Yahoo Hot Jobs -The trick is to enter the right key word; like “entry, high school”


This guide was produced for public use through a collaborative project between the Center on Conscience & War and the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, (NNOMY).

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